The Shelby County Animal Shelter (SCAS) has been under the management of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office since 2009, when county commissioners asked the Sheriff’s Department to take over the shelter.
The shelter’s small staff includes an assistant, a dog sitter and two part-time front desk staff.
The Sheriff’s Deputy at the shelter is responsible for responding to calls to retrieve stray dogs in the county in order to rehouse them or find their owners. The deputy also responds to calls regarding humanitarian concerns for Shelby County animals, including dogs, horses, and livestock. Ohio law states that shelters are not required to take in stray cats, but the shelter has always used the minimal space it has to take in and help as many stray cats as possible. Since the opening of the new SCAS building in 2019, the shelter has been able to accommodate more stray animals thanks to more kennels and play space for the animals.
The new SCAS facility included more kennel space but also larger playrooms for cats, a separate meeting and foster room for people to meet the dogs they are looking to adopt, a grooming room for animals, a quarantine area in case a sick or injured animal is brought in, heated floors and an integrated foam system to make it easier for staff to keep the facility clean. The old facility could only house 18 dogs and had six enclosures for small cats. The new shelter has grown to 40 kennels for dogs and space to house about 20 cats. In the area outside the establishment there are walking paths and an obstacle course. During the COVID-19 closure, the shelter received a grant from TCC Verizon in Sidney to create trails through the wooded areas behind the shelter for staff and volunteers to walk and exercise the shelter dogs. The outdoor obstacle course was built by 2021 Girl Scout Gold Award winner Kierstyn Oberdorf of Sidney and other volunteers.
“Compared to where we came from and where we are now, it’s night and day,” Dog Warden told Chasity Crowder.
The main objective of the shelter is to find homes for the animals entrusted to them. The small staff includes only the dog sitter, assistant and two part-timers who run reception, but they continue to work with the animals brought in to understand their personalities and quirks before trying to find the perfect home for the animal. “Fur-tastic Fridays” is a monthly event the shelter hosts on the fourth Friday of each month at different locations around the county to bring animals into the community in hopes of finding them their “furry” homes.
SCAS also does its best to help sick and injured animals. The shelter works closely with Shelby County Animal Rescue and Tri-County Veterinary to provide animals with any help they may need before they are put up for adoption. Since the shelter works closely with a lifeguard and veterinarian, they consider themselves a “low-mortality” shelter, which means euthanizing animals is not something the shelter has had to do often. .
“We had to euthanize, it’s not something we have to do frequently. For the last six or seven years, the percentages (of euthanized animals) have been less than 5%,” Crowder said.
Volunteers, individuals looking to adopt, or even those who just want to see the animals are always welcome at the shelter. Located at 610 Gearhart Road, the shelter is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon and is closed on Sunday.
The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to inform readers of news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.